On the Trail of L.M. Montgomery

Normally I do my blog post on Sunday—it is, after all, called “Shoe’s Sunday Stories””—but I have a good excuse this week for being late. I spent the weekend in Prince Edward Island (PEI) celebrating my birthday with my bestie. It was fantastic!!

One of the reasons we chose PEI was because we wanted to visit the place where L.M. Montgomery found inspiration for her books. Almost all her novels are set in PEI. L.M. Montgomery wrote not only “Anne of Green Gables”, one of my favourite childhood books, but in total 20 novels, 500 short stories, and 500 poems. Now that’s a prolific and inspirational writer!

We decided we would cover as many of the sites as we could on Saturday. Our first stop was “Green Gables Heritage Place”.

Love the quote!

The heritage place is the site of the house of Montgomery’s grandfather’s cousins. It was the house that Green Gables in the Anne series was based on. The place is currently decorated how Montgomery describes Green Gables in that series of books. Check out Anne’s room. See the carpetbag? While they were living there though, Montgomery’s relatives would not have decorated the house as extravagantly.

Anne’s room

Next we ambled down the path that inspired the “Haunted Woods” in the Anne books. I love the “A Glimpse of Beauty” statue that we discovered during our walk. It depicts Montgomery in her late 20s during a moment of inspiration, which she called “The Flash”. 

“A Glimpse of Beauty”

A little further on we arrived at our next site, L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish home. The site is where Montgomery lived with her maternal grandparents after the death of her mother. These days it is now mainly ruins, although recently the original kitchen section of the house that contained the post office where Montgomery served as assistant post mistress has been added. In the picture you can see some of the devastation from the hurricane of last month: most has been cleared, but there is still a tree laying over the ruins of the house.

Just the foundation remains

It is a surprise that the apple tree, which is over 100 years old and under which Montgomery wrote some of her stories, survived the storm.

The old apple tree

We also stumbled across a “Project Bookmark” plaque on the site. Although this organization, which is creating a literary trail across Canada, has been in existence since 2009, it was the first we had ever seen it.

We stopped briefly in Avonlea village, but most of the stores were already closed for the season.

Next stop was the birthplace of L.M. Montgomery, the house where she lived for the first 21 months until her mother died. Highlights there were a replica of Montgomery’s wedding dress, as well as the room the author was born in.

The final stop was the Anne of Green Gables Museum. The house was owned by Montgomery’s mother’s sister, whom Montgomery used to visit. There we saw the enchanted bookcase that made its way into “Anne of Green Gables”, as well as the blue chest that was in “Story Girl”. Montgomery was married in this house, and we visited the room where the ceremony took place. Also the lake there was the inspiration for “The Lake of Shining Waters”.

L.M. Montgomery considered PEI to be her spiritual home, which is why most of her novels were set there. Although she lived in Ontario after her marriage, she still went back to PEI as often as she could.

I can understand why Montgomery loved PEI so much. It is serene, the scenery is stunning, and the people are very friendly.

As I mentioned before, “Anne of Green Gables” is one of my favourite books from childhood. It seems that I am not alone. At the heritage place, we learned that just days after its first printing, the book went into its second printing, and there were 10 printings in the first year. In fact, the English version has been in continuous print for over 100 years. The first translation was in 1909, which was into Swedish. I love this wall where the book is shown in so many different languages.

Have you ever been to the sites I talked about? Was there a highlight for you? Have you been to any of the “Project Bookmark” sites?

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2019 Linda Schueler

9 thoughts on “On the Trail of L.M. Montgomery

  1. Kelly

    It was an amazing insight into the author’s life with great historical and geographical perspective of life at the turn of the 20th century!

  2. Fatima

    It saddens me the extent of destruction by the storm. I hope to go there soon. When I read my fiction books I always picture visiting places…Maybe it is time for me to pick up Anne…have never read it.

  3. Patti James

    This brings back memories of my childhood reading the “Anne ” series of books. We have visited PEI and would recommend doing that and checking out the museum, etc. Such a beautiful part of Canada!

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